8 Jan 2016

Platini withdraws from FIFA presidency race

9:30 am on 8 January 2016

The banned European football president Michel Platini has reportedly withdrawn his candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

UEFA boss Michel Platini

UEFA boss Michel Platini Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The French newspaper L'Equipe quoted the suspended UEFA boss as saying he will not stand in the soccer world governing body's presidential election to be held at the end of next month.

Platini, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, was banned from all football-related activities for eight years following an ethics investigation by FIFA.

They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a NZ$3,000,000 "disloyal payment" made to Platini in 2011.

Both men deny any wrongdoing.

The former French international Platini has insisted he has done nothing wrong and was still hoping to win an appeal in time to be allowed back for the election on 26 February, but said he had changed his mind.

"I withdraw my candidacy. I can no longer (go through with it). I have neither the time, nor the means to go and see the voters, to meet people, and to fight with others," he said in the interview which L'Equipe, published on its website.

"By withdrawing, I chose to fully focus on my defence on a case where there's no talk of corruption, falsification anymore, in which there's nothing left," added Platini, who was widely seen as the favourite until he was banned.

"It's a matter of schedule, but it's not just that. How do you win an election when you're prevented from campaigning?"

Blatter and Platini were both banned over the NZ$3,000,000 payment - which Blatter approved in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.

The committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest.